B-141066, JANUARY 21, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 537

B-141066: Jan 21, 1960

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1960: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 22. IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING FROM YOUR LETTER AND INFORMATION FURNISHED INFORMALLY ( POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT REGIONAL LETTER. OR LATER) WILL BE AT THE DELIVERING OFFICE. WILL ALSO BE DELIVERED ON THE FOLLOWING DAY. OR ARRIVING FROM OUTSIDE THE AREA WILL ALSO RECEIVE THE MOST EXPEDITIOUS SERVICE POSSIBLE. A CENTRAL "CORE" CITY WITH APPROPRIATE SECTIONAL AND CONCENTRATION CENTERS ARE SELECTED WHICH TOGETHER FORM THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING THE SIZE OF THE AREA TO BE SERVICED CONSIDERING THE TIME REQUIRED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL BETWEEN SUCH POINTS. THE RADIUS OF THE AREA USUALLY INCLUDED IN A SECTIONAL CENTER IS EQUIVALENT TO THE DISTANCE TRAVELED BY A STAR ROUTE OR OTHER MOTOR VEHICLE IN FROM ONE TO TWO HOURS.

B-141066, JANUARY 21, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 537

POSTMASTER GENERAL - TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL - NEGOTIATION AUTHORITY - METROPOLITAN PLAN ESTABLISHMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A METROPOLITAN PLAN FOR THE TRANSPORTATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF MAIL WITHIN A PARTICULAR GEOGRAPHICAL AREA, THE DISCONTINUANCE OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL BY RAIL CARRIERS BETWEEN CERTAIN POINTS AND THE SUBSTITUTION OF MOTOR VEHICLE FREIGHT SERVICE TO MEET NEW DELIVERY SCHEDULES MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS A CHANGEOVER FROM TRAIN TO HIGHWAY BUS SERVICE DUE TO DISCONTINUED OR CURTAILED TRAIN SERVICE TO COME WITHIN THE NEGOTIATION AUTHORITY GRANTED TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL UNDER 39 U.S.C. 541A. A CHANGE IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL UNDER A METROPOLITAN AREA PLAN, WHICH WOULD INVOLVE DISCONTINUANCE OF A STAR ROUTE CONTRACT AND INCLUDE NEW EXTENDED SERVICE OUTSIDE THE PRESENT RAIL OPERATIONS OF THE RAILROADS THROUGH THE OPERATION OF MOTOR VEHICLE FREIGHT SERVICE OVER HIGHWAYS, MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS A SUBSTITUTION BY THE RAILROADS OF BUS TRANSPORTATION SERVICE FOR ABANDONED OR CURTAILED TRAIN SERVICE SO THAT SUCH NEW SERVICE MAY BE CONTRACTED FOR BY NEGOTIATION UNDER THE AUTHORITY IN 39 U.S.C. 541A.

TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JANUARY 21, 1960:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 22, 1959, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES REQUIRED IN ESTABLISHING A " METRO PLAN" FOR THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA WHICH INVOLVES (1) SERVICES BETWEEN FLORENCE AND COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND (2) BETWEEN ATLANTA, GEORGIA, AND COLUMBIA AND FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA, MAY BE PROCURED BY NEGOTIATING WITH RAILROADS FOR TRANSPORTATION BY MOTOR VEHICLE OVER HIGHWAYS IN LIEU OF SERVICE BY TRAIN, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 15, 1933, 47 STAT. 809, 39 U.S.C. 541A.

IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING FROM YOUR LETTER AND INFORMATION FURNISHED INFORMALLY ( POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT REGIONAL LETTER, RL NO. 59-169) THAT THE METROPOLITAN AREA PROGRAM OR PLAN RECENTLY INITIATED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL HAS AS ITS PRIMARY OBJECTIVE THE IMPROVEMENT OF PREFERENTIAL MAIL SERVICE WHEREBY PATRONS CAN BE GUARANTEED:

A. THAT EVERY PIECE OF PREFERENTIAL MAIL DEPOSITED IN A COLLECTION BOX ( SEE POSTAL BULLETIN 20133, DATED MARCH 19, 1959) OR AT A POSTAL INSTALLATION ANYWHERE IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA BY THE CLOSE OF THE DAY (NORMALLY 5:00 P.M. OR LATER) WILL BE AT THE DELIVERING OFFICE, READY FOR DELIVERY TO THE ADDRESSEE, BY THE START OF THE FOLLOWING BUSINESS DAY (NO LATER THAN 9:00 A.M.), IF DESTINED FOR DELIVERY WITHIN THE SAME METROPOLITAN AREA, AND

B. THAT PREFERENTIAL MAIL POSTED AFTER 5:00 P.M. WILL ALSO BE DELIVERED ON THE FOLLOWING DAY, IF POSSIBLE, AND

C. THAT PREFERENTIAL MAIL DESTINED FOR POINTS OUTSIDE THE METROPOLITAN AREA, OR ARRIVING FROM OUTSIDE THE AREA WILL ALSO RECEIVE THE MOST EXPEDITIOUS SERVICE POSSIBLE.

IN ESTABLISHING A " METRO PLAN" FOR A PARTICULAR AREA, A CENTRAL "CORE" CITY WITH APPROPRIATE SECTIONAL AND CONCENTRATION CENTERS ARE SELECTED WHICH TOGETHER FORM THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING THE SIZE OF THE AREA TO BE SERVICED CONSIDERING THE TIME REQUIRED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL BETWEEN SUCH POINTS. THE RADIUS OF THE AREA USUALLY INCLUDED IN A SECTIONAL CENTER IS EQUIVALENT TO THE DISTANCE TRAVELED BY A STAR ROUTE OR OTHER MOTOR VEHICLE IN FROM ONE TO TWO HOURS. GENERALLY, POUCHES ARE PREPARED BY EACH SECTIONAL CENTER FOR EVERY OTHER SECTIONAL CENTER IN THE AREA. CONCENTRATION CENTERS SERVE AS EXCHANGE POINTS BETWEEN SECTIONAL CENTERS, PERFORM DISTRIBUTION OF MAIL FOR POINTS OUTSIDE THE AREA WHEN THE VOLUME DOES NOT JUSTIFY COMPLETE DISTRIBUTION AT SECTIONAL CENTERS, AND RECEIVE MAIL FROM POINTS OUTSIDE THE METROPOLITAN AREA THAT CANNOT MAKE A POUCH FOR EACH SECTIONAL CENTER. WHEN EXISTING TRANSPORTATION SCHEDULES DO NOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE METROPOLITAN PLAN, THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ADDITIONAL SERVICES IS REQUIRED, AND WHERE VOLUME PERMITS AND IT IS OTHERWISE FOUND FEASIBLE ALL CLASSES OF MAIL INCLUDING BULK MAIL ARE BROUGHT UNDER THE METROPOLITAN PLAN.

WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT THE METROPOLITAN PLAN FOR SOUTH CAROLINA IS ONE OF THE FIRST DESIGNED TO EMBRACE AN ENTIRE STATE AND WILL INCLUDE BULK MAIL AS WELL AS PREFERENTIAL MAIL. COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, HAS BEEN SELECTED AS THE DISTRIBUTION CENTER, AND IT HAS BEEN FOUND NECESSARY TO REVISE EXISTING TRANSPORTATION ROUTES AND SCHEDULES REQUIRING, IN SOME INSTANCES, THE UTILIZATION OF NEW MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 15, 1933, 47 STAT. 809, 39 U.S.C. 541A, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL WAS GRANTED AUTHORITY "IN HIS DISCRETION, TO PERMIT RAILROAD AND ELECTRIC CAR COMPANIES TO PROVIDE MAIL TRANSPORTATION BY MOTOR VEHICLE OVER HIGHWAYS IN LIEU OF SERVICE BY TRAIN, THE COMPENSATION FOR SUCH SERVICE TO BE AT A RATE NOT IN EXCESS OF THE RATE THAT WOULD BE ALLOWED FOR SIMILAR SERVICE BY RAILROAD OR ELECTRIC CAR * * *.'

IN OUR RECENT LETTER TO THE CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON POST OFFICE AND CIVIL SERVICE OF THE SENATE, B-139341, JULY 6, 1959, A COPY OF WHICH WAS TRANSMITTED TO YOU ON THE SAME DATE, WE POINTED OUT THAT THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY DISCLOSES THAT THE PURPOSE OF THIS LEGISLATION WAS TO AFFORD A METHOD OF PAYMENT FROM APPROPRIATIONS FOR RAILROAD TRANSPORTATION SERVICE WHERE HIGHWAY BUS TRANSPORTATION SERVICE WAS SUBSTITUTED BY THE RAILROAD FOR DISCONTINUED OR CURTAILED TRAIN SERVICE, AND THAT SUCH AUTHORITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR THIS SERVICE WAS TO BE USED AT THE TIME A CHANGEOVER FROM TRAIN SERVICE TO HIGHWAY BUS SERVICE WAS REQUIRED, I.E., FOUND NECESSARY BY THE RAILROAD.

WITH RESPECT TO THE PROPOSED CHANGE IN SERVICE BETWEEN FLORENCE AND COLUMBIA, IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE ATLANTIC COAST LINE RAILROAD TRANSPORTS MAIL FROM THE NORTH TO FLORENCE AND TO POINTS SOUTH ALONG ITS LINE. THE ATLANTIC COAST LINE ALSO MAINTAINS FREIGHT SERVICE BETWEEN FLORENCE, SUMTER, AND COLUMBIA, WHICH IS NOT NOW USED FOR MAIL TRANSPORTATION. IT WAS THE DESIRE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT TO ROUTE A DAILY 40- FOOT CARLOAD OF MAIL TO COLUMBIA OVER THE COAST LINE FROM NEW YORK OR WASHINGTON VIA FLORENCE SO AS TO ARRIVE IN FLORENCE AT APPROXIMATELY 8 P.M. HOWEVER, THE MERCHANDISE "FAST" FREIGHT TRAIN TO COLUMBIA DOES NOT DEPART UNTIL A LATER HOUR AND ARRIVES IN COLUMBIA AFTER 2 A.M. IN ORDER THAT THE MAIL MIGHT BE DISPATCHED FROM COLUMBIA FOR DELIVERY ON THE SAME DAY, IT IS NECESSARY THAT IT BE AT THE POST OFFICE LOADING DOCK IN COLUMBIA BY 12 MIDNIGHT. IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THIS COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE ATLANTIC COAST LINE'S SUBSTITUTION OF MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE BETWEEN FLORENCE AND COLUMBIA FOR THE RAIL SERVICE BETWEEN THSSE POINTS, WHICH WOULD NOT ONLY PRESERVE TO THE RAILROAD A PORTION OF THE MAIL TRAFFIC IT NOW HAS, BUT WOULD GIVE THE DEPARTMENT THE NEEDED SERVICE.

WE UNDERSTAND, HOWEVER, THAT THE ATLANTIC COAST LINE RAILROAD RECENTLY INITIATED PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE BETWEEN FLORENCE AND COLUMBIA AND THE REQUIRED MAIL TRANSPORTATION SERVICE HAS BEEN OBTAINED UNDER A CONTRACT NEGOTIATED WITH THE RAILROAD. THE DISCONTINUANCE OF SUCH SERVICE, WE BELIEVE YOU WILL AGREE, COULD HARDLY BE REGARDED AS AFFORDING A PROPER BASIS FOR INVOKING THE AUTHORITY PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 15, 1933, SINCE A CHANGEOVER FROM TRAIN TO BUS SERVICE AS CONTEMPLATED BY THAT ACT APPARENTLY WOULD NOT BE INVOLVED.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE SECOND PROPOSED CHANGE IN SERVICE INVOLVES MAIL NOW PLACED ON THE TRAINS OF THE GEORGIA RAILROAD AT ATLANTA, GEORGIA, DESTINED FOR COLUMBIA AND FLORENCE; THAT THE GEORGIA LINE GOES TO AUGUSTA WHERE MAIL FOR COLUMBIA IS TRANSFERRED TO A STAR ROUTE AND THE TRAIN CARRYING THE FLORENCE MAIL CONTINUES ON TO SUMTER AND FLORENCE AS A COAST LINE TRAIN. UPON INSTITUTION OF THE " METRO PLAN," THE FOREGOING SERVICES WILL BE DISCONTINUED AND, IN LIEU THEREOF, SERVICE BY MOTOR VEHICLE WILL BE INSTITUTED BETWEEN ATLANTA AND FLORENCE WITH STOPS AT COLUMBIA AND SUMTER. A PORTION OF THE MAIL LOADED ON THE TRUCK AT ATLANTA WILL BE ROUTED THROUGH TO SUMTER OR FLORENCE, WHILE OTHER MAIL WILL EITHER BE LEFT AT OR DISPATCHED FROM COLUMBIA. A SIMILAR RUN WILL BE INSTITUTED IN THE REVERSE DIRECTION. UNDER THE PROPOSED CHANGE THIS SERVICE WOULD BE PERFORMED JOINTLY BY THE GEORGIA AND ATLANTIC COAST LINE RAILROADS IN LIEU OF THE JOINT TRAIN SERVICE NOW PROVIDED BY THESE COMPANIES.

IN OTHER WORDS, THE GEORGIA AND ATLANTIC COAST LINE RAILROADS WOULD OPERATE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICES OVER HIGHWAYS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL IN A MANNER NOT NOW CAPABLE OF BEING ACCOMPLISHED BY THE TWO RAILROADS OVER RAIL ROUTES, WHICH WOULD RESULT IN THE DISCONTINUANCE OF THE PRESENT STAR ROUTE BETWEEN AUGUSTA AND COLUMBIA. AS POINTED OUT IN YOUR LETTER, COLUMBIA IS NOT ON THE RAIL ROUTE BETWEEN AUGUSTA AND FLORENCE. THUS, IT SEEMS EVIDENCE THAT THE CHANGE IN SERVICE PROPOSED WOULD EMBRACE NEW EXTENDED SERVICES OUTSIDE THE PRESENT RAIL OPERATIONS OF THE RAILROADS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACCOMPLISHING THE " METRO PLAN" OBJECTIVE, RATHER THAN THE SUBSTITUTION BY THE RAILROADS OF BUS TRANSPORTATION SERVICES FOR EXISTING TRAIN SERVICES ABANDONED OR CURTAILED BY THEM. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 15, 1933, AFFORD AUTHORITY FOR NEGOTIATING WITH THE RAILROADS FOR THE SERVICES REQUIRED. CF. OUR DECISION TO YOU OF DECEMBER 30, 1959, B-141203, 39 COMP. GEN. 485, RELATING TO THE GENERAL ADVERTISING REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO THE PROCUREMENT OF MAIL TRANSPORTATION SERVICES.